Who isn’t familiar with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”? The song was written by the band’s keyboardist, Jonathan Cain, who is embracing his Christian roots and will release his first solo Christian album, What God Wants to Hear, this October. This might seem like an unlikely choice for the rocker, but Cain says that his return to the Christian faith came after meeting his wife, Paula White, who is the senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Orlando, Florida.
“This is a small way of giving back what the Lord has given me over the years,” Jonathan says on his website. “As a result of the Lord blessing me and blessing Journey, this is my offering back to him.”
Cain first joined the band Journey in 1981, replacing the departing Gregg Rolie, and wrote many of the band’s top hits, including “Who’s Crying Now,” “Faithfully,” and “Open Arms.” However, way before then, Jonathan had originally wanted to be a priest.
Jonathan Cain grew up in Chicago and attended Our Lady of the Angels School and served in the Gregorian boy choir. He says that his young faith was challenged when a fire broke out there when he was in third grade. Three nuns along with 92 of his friends and fellow students died that day. He found solace with his music. By the time Cain was in his teens, he was playing the accordion and piano at parties and clubs as well as the pipe organ for church services at his church, Saint Maria Goretti.
Many years later, when lead singer Steve Perry was taking steps to leave Journey, he brought in a bible at one of the last recording sessions for the band’s Trial by Fire album. He admits that he was jealous of Perry’s newfound faith, but he himself wasn’t ready to go back to God just yet. He says that he had to go through his trial by fire as well.
“This really opened my eyes. I was still in the wilderness, but God was planting seeds in me.”
Cain found himself on the other side of two failed marriages, and his band breaking up. He recalls a time in Florida when he became lost and realized that he was more lost than he thought.
“I was so empty I no longer recognized myself, but that’s what God wants—to empty you out so you can return to him… Only God can take a mess and turn it into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into victory,” Jonathan says.
Cain married White in April of 2015. She too has had her share of tough times. This is her third marriage. Her first broke up soon after she became a Christian and married her second husband, evangelist Randy White, in 1989, but that marriage also ended in divorce in 2007, reports the Christian Post. She succeeded her church’s former leader, Zachery Tims, when he died from “acute intoxication by the combined effects of cocaine and heroin” in 2011.
Jonathan says that he found a new joy in his music after he led a praise and worship session at one of Paula’s women’s conferences and found himself asking, “What does God want to hear from me?” He began writing a slew of new music.
“I’ve always been seeking out songs since I was young,” Jonathan says. “I never had any idea how rich the Bible was with imagery. I got lost in it.” Now Cain is listening to his own words: “Don’t Stop Believin.'”
“God’s telling me to just trust him,” Jonathan adds. “He’s telling me, ‘I got this, Jon.'”
Jonathan Cain’s What God Wants to Hear will be released on October 21, 2016.
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